Ben Simmons Trade Rumors: Some Teams Say 76ers' Asking Price for Star Is Increasing

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2022

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons plays during Game 7 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

NBA teams waiting to see whether the Philadelphia 76ers would reduce their asking price for point guard Ben Simmons have reportedly seen the opposite happen.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday the Sixers' demands for Simmons have actually been "growing in price" despite opposing front offices' hesitancy to offer Philly's preferred "top 25-caliber players," which leaves the situation in a continued stalemate.

A meeting between 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand and Simmons' agent, Rich Paul, on Wednesday yielded no significant progress toward a resolution, per Woj.

The 25-year-old LSU product has yet to play during the 2021-22 season. He remained away from the organization for most of the offseason while awaiting a potential trade that never materialized.

Simmons returned shortly before the start of the campaign before stepping away to focus on his mental health, and Paul told the Sixers' brass Wednesday that "mental health hurdles continue to preclude him from a return to play with the team," per Woj.

The 76ers have shown they're not willing to make a deal unless it's for what they believe is fair-market value, and there's no real pressure on them to get a trade done in the short term.

Simmons is under contract through the 2024-25 season as part of a five-year, $177.2 million deal, which illustrates how the team has viewed him as a franchise cornerstone and makes any potential trade crucial to the future of building a championship contender.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Monday there are no shortage of teams keeping tabs on the situation, including the Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings.

Yet Charania echoed Wojnarowski by saying the 76ers "don't appear any closer to a trade" than they were in the offseason.

That lack of progress is surely a concern to Simmons' camp as they continue to push hard for him to get a fresh start elsewhere.

So far, none of the interested teams have been willing to step up to meet the demands the Sixers refuse to back down from, though.

Deadlines tend to spur action, so it'll be intriguing to see whether the Simmons talk heats up prior to Feb. 10, but so far it's been much ado about nothing.